so today has literally been my favorite day on paros thus far. i woke up around 10ish and couldn’t decide what to do with my day. i knew i wanted to go somewhere new, but i also wanted beach, but i didn’t want to have to go super far because i had class at 2:30pm. so i quickly go dressed and ready and searched online for a list of beaches that were close to the main town where i live. krios didn’t look too far away so i figured that i would give it a go; it was supposed to be warmer water and not quite so crowded as the beaches in town.

i started my hike and realized that i didn’t know quite where i was going, but then decided that a general idea would be more fun anyway and might take me past some unexpected sites. i took the main road out of town until it ran into a resort, at which point i saw a road up above and decided to just climb the hill until i made it there (in my jesus shoes, hell yea).

when i made it to the road my eyes instantly fell upon a small byzantine church. there are many on the island, always open and empty in case a passerby should want to stop a say a prayer, which is exactly what i did (hoorah for being an easily excited religious nerd). there was just something about randomly stumbling upon it on a hillside in greece looking out over the aegean; it was perfect. so with my religion done for the day i continued my random hike towards the beach.

20 minutes into it i realized that it was a bit harder than i had anticipated and that i was running out of water fast; unfortunately, i was also heading out of town and into the country so it was unlikely that i would pass another store. oh well, i’m already hiking, i’m going to finish it! i thought. so on i went, up more steep hills, down more winding curves, when i came to a sign for the beach! but something else urged me on, past where i thought i was going to end up, and instead led me someplace far better. it was almost like every time i went to stop and just head for the shore or turn back and go to the first sign for krios that i saw, something else would catch my eye and nudge me on. first it was just a feeling, then it was a turn up ahead in the road with an amazing view, then an old church atop a hill, and then, finally, it was a beach near an outcropping of rock in the distance. somehow i was determined to get there, and after about 45 or so minutes total, i did. and ohmylord it was COMPLETELY TOTALLY 100% WORTH IT!

the beach was empty, save for a few cute old couple farther down on the right, and my view of the main town was uninterupted. for some reason my stupid self decided to not wear a swimsuit under my outfit, so even though i was sweaty and disgusting i couldn’t get all the way in the water (when i relayed this bit of the story on to one of my teachers she just laughed and told me that nobody would have given a hoot if i would have stripped down to my skivvies and hopped in, enough people go topless or nude that nobody thinks twice about it–so there’s my plan for next time!). i walked around quite a bit though playing in the water and taking pictures of it and the view, though of course none of them can truly capture the place: how the sand literally sparkles in the water, how from up on a cliff i could see the bottom of the sea even 50 feet out, how tranquil it is to be on your own in paradise and not have to share it with anyone that first time. gahh, it was unforgettable!!

but as i said, i had class at 2:30 so i soon had to head back, espesially since i knew i would be needing a shower pronto. i crested the first hill, breathing heavily and sweating profusely with my water bottle empty, as cars zoomed by ..when all of a sudden one stopped and reversed back towards me. two cute old greek ladies had seen me walking and wanted to give me a ride! i thanked them profusely and hopped in their cute little fiat for the less-than-10-minutes ride back into town. granted, i know that i must have looked bad for them to have stopped, but still, the greeks are wonderful! no american would have stopped and helped me on the side of the road! and if we would have been in america no american would have stopped to help a shiesty sweaty tourist get back to town. i was just glad that i was in greece : )

with the time they saved me i actually ended up changing into my swimsuit and heading down to the beach closest to my apartment for the next hour or so until i had to sprint off to class, score!

2:30: manual photography class, one-on-one with my teacher maria, a native to paros. not going to lie, i was really intimidated to be the only student in a class in which i knew absolutely nothing about the subject matter. well that and the fact that maria and her confident greek-ness scared me; i didn’t want her to look down on me and my lame manual photography skills and just be all ugh, stupid american! but she wasn’t like that at all! actually she was kind of socially awkard about the whole teaching thing, which i later realized is because she’s only been teaching this class for two semesters and she’s not used to it. she was super helpful and understanding about my utter lack of knowledge and didn’t mind explaning things in the dark room three or four times until i understood them (which was good beacuse i was completely helpless in there, ahhhh!).

today we did shadow prints, which is where you lay out objects on light-sensitive paper and then expose it to bursts of light so that where the object was stays white and where the paper was exposed turns darker the more light you shine on it. i did one and was a little unsure of it, actually taking my idea for it from a tattoo that my best friend danielle wants to have done (danielle, it’s the one w the girl holding the balloon that eventually turns into birds flying away). it turned out way better than i expected and as i put the paper into the chemicals maria got all excited and started yelling and telling me how wonderful and creative and intuitive i was with my materials (go me!!). so with that confidence boost i decided to make another, this time flower-esque. again, as i placed it in the chemicals she yelled and even i started to get excited. it turned out so damn amazing that i decided to build on the idea and make a third one.

i’ll put pictures up later but basically it’s (pardon the curse words, family/friends who don’t approve of them) SUPER FUCKING AMAZING AND WONDERFUL AND I’M ULTRA FUCKING PUMPED HOW IT TURNED OUT AND I THINK I’M EVEN GOING TO PUT IT IN THE FINAL ART SHOW BECAUSE IT’S SO SIMPLE CHIC AND STELLAR. okay, so basically my photography class was way better than i expected, and for that i am super excited!!

during my half hour break from classes i tried and failed to skype with my mum : / something with the sound was always off? maybe it was the fact that i was seaside and the wind was blowing lots, i’m not sure, it’s possible.

but anyhow, then i went off to my goddess class. the teacher there reminds me of dr. dennis, my high school art teacher who was chill hippy awesomeness all the time. she talked about how we’ll be getting quite religious and political in our discussions of the goddess throughout the ages and that we should be pushed out of our comfort zones and into more critical thinking. sounds right up my alley: feminism, religion, spirituality of places, rituals, archeology, and politics!!

we all headed back to the apartment for a bit and i was hanging out with a few of the kids from the program when i suddenly had the random desire to go swimming again. while i’m here i’m trying to follow my gut as much as possible (hence the random amazing hike earlier) so i left everyone (who all thought i was crazy) and headed for the sea. i ended up floating in the water and watching the sun set over the mountains, which was quite a beautiful and majestic site. i don’t understand why nobody else seems to want to take in these experiences like i do? oh well. i’m taking in enough for all of us!

i came back and showered and we all had a communal dinner shindig which was nice because we each only had to make one thing (yay!), though i did get stuck washing dishes.

after that i mentioned going to get ice cream and everyone else was all like yea i’ll go! so we decided to meet at 10:15 to head down (it’s literally closer than the beach even). when 10:15 came around though nobody else showed up, but of course, i’m not opposed to doing things on my own so i said screw them then and headed down to the ice cream shop. turns out that the guy who owns the place is from paros and just opened the business last month; him and his wife were ultra nice and we ended up standing around chatting for 10 minutes about me going to art  school on the island, his semi-recent visit to ohio (youngstown, shiesty right!?), and how wonderful his restaurant is and how i’ll prolly be there frequently because i live so close! i ended up leaving with two scoops of strawberry cheesecake ice-cream, a free bottle of water (because i told him about my intense hiking trip), and a new friend in the area! it was lovely.

i feel like so many random things happened today that culminated in it being so wonderful and enlightening and chill (cause i’m all about chill stuff). even though i don’t hang out with the other HISA students as often as they all seem to congregate together, i’m completely okay with that because i feel like i’m getting so many more genuine experiences in my surroundings; i’m legit living in the moment and just doing my own thing, and that’s exactly how i like it! i came here to greece to get out of my comfort zone and grow as a person through those experiences, and i’m definitely doing that.

oh, and here are random pictures from my day!! enjoy!